Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Character


Hi,

Today we had a beautiful, brief morning storm.  Everything got watered and washed, the artwork left for Bangkok and the monks left the temples.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Love The One You're With" by Stephen Stills.  On to our 'Zany Day' tune, one I think is appropriate these days.  "Hey now baby, get into my big black car.  Hey now baby, get into my big black car.  I wanna just show you what my politics are..."  Hint:  You are probably getting tired of hearing from them these days.  (555)

Our day began with the sound of fireworks, gongs, and a mix of traditional instrumental music.  Just as I finished finding out what was happening we saw a row of little boy monks walking down the road toward the temple.  Today was the end of the three month Buddhist Lent when all the monks stay inside the temples at night.  For the next month people will bring offerings and many will bring robes symbolizing a renewal.  

Just as we were going to take the dogs out for their play time it started to rain.  It didn't last long so we thought it was just a cloud burst.  I went to my massage and while I was being tortured by Khun Joy, we heard the sound of a heavy downpour outside.  It was a significant bit of rain.  A little later the winds came and blew the rest of the clouds away.  

While I was getting my massage, the shipping guys packed up the three crates of art work destined for Bangkok.  They will arrive tomorrow.  We will also arrive tomorrow, and I'm glad we are not traveling by truck.  This trip will be our first flight to Bangkok since the restructuring of domestic landings.  All domestic carriers, except for Thai Airways, now fly in and out of Don Muang airport, which is outside of town.  This means that we will have a little car trip after we land.  A longer ride than from the main airport.  The real fun will be when we fly to America and have to transfer from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi for our international flight.  

I have told you about the strip of pavement that runs down the middle of the big dirt lot behind our house and how it's being used as an exercise area.  Well, here is a 'family exercise portrait' from one early morning.

                         Morning Stretch

Time to pack the bag, and do all those last minute things to get ready for our trip.  Oh, and lest I forget 'Happy Halloween' to all those inclined to celebrate.  Don't eat too much candy.

It's sure to be a Wacky Wednesday.

                     Peace,
                                Danny

"The farther behind I leave the past,
the closer I am to forging my own character."
~Isabelle Eberhardt

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Resiliant


Hi,

Today was a stay-at-home day.  We watched the news a lot, packed up all the art work, and went for a swim.  It was a good day.

I always know 'Easy Monday' is working right when I get lots of email.  I'm sure some of you know it but your power is out (good excuse).  Here's the second verse just in case you were busy:  "Don't be angry, don't be sad.  Don't sit crying talking good times you've had.  Well there's a girl sitting right next to you, and she's just waiting for something to do.... And if you can't be with the one you love, __ __ __ __ __."  Hint:  Like the name says: 'Easy Monday'.  You know this.

When we began our breakfast this morning we did something we hardly ever do, we turned on the TV and watched the news.  CNN Asia carried the main feed about the storm all day, and we tried to watch the headlines at the top of each hour.  As the storm approached we knew many of our friends were OK, but it looks like power is out for many of them now.  It reminded us of this time last year when Bangkok and the surrounding areas were under water.

After an enthusiastic session with the dogs of chasing the ball, which includes running off with said ball, we went to work on the rest of the wrapping.  We developed a real system to the whole thing and by late morning we were done.  

This afternoon we packed the three crates with 30 cast acrylic prints.  The shipping company will come in the morning and pick them up.   We will fly to Bangkok on Thursday, hang the exhibit on Friday, and Saturday will be the opening.  Today we were talking about how much preparation goes into opening of the show and then, two and a half hours later it's all over.  The work will be on exhibit for a full month, but that first evening is the 'event'.  

This morning, after the doggie play, we took pictures of our banana tree.  It's grown quite a bit since we got it.  Here are before and after photos so you can see what it looks like now.  The 'baby' was planted on March 15, 2012 and the 'big' photo was taken October 30, 2012.


                                         

It will be awhile before we actually have any bananas, but it's a monster of a tree already.  The 'babies' next to the main tree are growing fast and I'm hoping they can be transplanted.  We may end up with a plantation (555).  I would like to plant a mango tree since I'm fond of them.  

Tomorrow we pack the bags and get ready for our Bangkok adventure.  We also have to make a few lists of things we want to do while we're there.  It's been some time since we had 'play time' in Bangkok.  Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                   Peace,
                              Danny

"Man has never made any material as resilient as the human spirit."
~Bern Williams

Monday, October 29, 2012

Measure


Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai is in a holding pattern.  Same thing every day: Hot and sunny with cool evenings.  We went to the mall, dined with a friend, made some new friends, watched Formula One, and started our adventures in bubble wrap.

I guess with all the hurricane prep going on you didn't have time to respond to the 'Old School Friday' song.  Wait, a bunch of you are on the other coast.  The tune was "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" by Mr. James Brown.  'Easy Monday is next and I just know you're gonna write me with an answer.  (555)  "If  you're down and confused, and you don't remember who you're talking to.  Concentration slips away, because your baby is so far away.  Well there's a rose in a fisted glove, and the eagle flies with the dove.  And if you can't be with the one you love __ __ __ __ __."
Hint:  Five words giving some dubious advice.

Saturday morning, while getting gas, I spotted a store with an unusual name:  'Believe Nothing Else'.  I couldn't make out what they were selling inside, but they had customers who apparently believe in them.  This calls for a return trip and a little investigation.  We were on our way to Central Plaza to get some copying done.  There is a print center that has a whole bank of sophisticated machines.  While the job was being done we had coffee and then went to two of our favorite places.  Lisa went to B2S where she browsed art supplies, and magazines for Boot.  I was at Boomerang Music trying to find out who was singing the songs I recorded from the radio.  They had one of the three that I played, and wrote down the other two.  The system is paying off and we are having fun playing popular Thai music in the car.  Sometimes we listen to Fat Radio but there are too many commercials.  Hmm, sound familiar?

Late in the afternoon we were driving on the street where the little 'drink' pick-up truck parks.  I got bold and pulled up so Lisa could snap a photo.  Later in the evening we found out the whole story about this truck.  The jars on the bottom shelf contain a moonshine whisky and each one has a different herb or animal inside to give a specific 'medicinal' result.  Our friend Chalit filled us in during dinner.  There is a lot of folklore attached to some of these potions, but he said they all make the drinker very drunk.  Oh.

                           Whisky Potions

One of the interesting things we learned at dinner was Chalit's account of when he spent 6 weeks as a 'Forest Monk'. He told us about living in the forest with no shoes, getting used to all the creatures that crawl, and living an extremely austere life and receiving teachings from his 'Master'.  The experience had quite an impact on his life, and hearing him talk about it gave us a deeper understanding of what many men commit to.  Most do not go into the forest, but there is still a separation from everyday life and a discipline in the studies that can give focus to other things.  
It was another evening filled with conversation, learning and laughter.

Sunday we had a visit from an American professor and his wife who live in Bangkok.  They have a house in Ban Du, just north of us and come up once a month.  He wanted to see Lisa's cast acrylic prints and was going to be our 'back up' presenter for the exhibit next Saturday.  We had a great visit with them, learning a lot about how things 'work' here in Thailand.  

Today we got word that the president of the American Chamber of Commerce here in Thailand will be the presenter for Lisa's exhibit.  We are very pleased that she will open the show.  Today we began the process of wrapping each print in bubble wrap for the journey to Bangkok.  The art will be put in the crates and trucked to the gallery.  We got half done today, and we'll finish tomorrow.  The walls are looking bare.

Have a Great Week.

                    Peace,
                               Danny

"The measure of our life is not whether others know our name,
but whether we have touched the lives of others."
~Unknown

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Funnies


Hi,

This has been the kind of day that requires one to take a day off just to recuperate.  It was a beautiful day to be busy so that helped.  I managed to see three regions of countryside in addition to the center of town.  

Hat's off to all of you who knew the 'Zany Day' song was "Life's Been Good" by Joe Walsh.  'Old School Friday' is next:
"Come here sister, Papa's in the swing.  He ain't too hip, about that new breed babe.  He ain't no drag. __ __ __ __ __ __."  Hint:  Hit me band.  Often called "The hardest working man in show business".  No, he doesn't have a sack lunch.

This morning we did an early run up the highway to Makro.  After our shopping we drove farther north to the Frame Factory to pick up Lisa's latest prints.  On our way back to the highway we passed an empty lot with the dark red dirt I told you about weeks ago.  I made a U-turn and we went back and took a picture. 

                                 Dark Red Dirt

After dropping off the groceries and two of the three prints we went into town.  We stopped at Bliss Studios and left Lisa's newest cast acrylic print so Chalit could photograph it.  Next stop was the flower market where we had to buy a funeral wreath.  More on that in a minute.  Next, we visited the art supply store.  The owners are a really sweet couple and the wife, Khun Supaluk, is one of Lisa's biggest fans.  

We got to take a break and relax a bit before lunch.  I didn't have much time after lunch because today I was due at New Life 30 minutes early for a meeting with the director and a new friend who wanted a tour.  The drive to the country was pretty pleasant until I got to a road-paving project.  I was part of a long procession following a water truck that was spraying the road to hold down the dust.  It's interesting to see how some rice fields are harvested in parts and others are done all at once.  Something else to find out about.  At the Center I learned more about the farming and some of the future plans.  All of the farming is organic and the goal is to be self-sustaining.  They're not quite there, but what they grow goes on the table.  They have to supplement some foods.  Small mud-brick cabins are being built in the forest areas of the property.  These will be available for volunteers and guests who wish to have more solitude.  Now that's what I call a get-away vacation.

This evening we drove out to the country in another direction to pay our respects to our friends Noni and Bob.  Noni's father passed a few days ago and there has been a traditional gathering every night.  When we got there, people from the village were arriving.  Noni introduced us to various members of the family who had traveled from Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  The casket was on a platform in front of the house, with lots of flowers and bright, colored lights around it.  Tomorrow will be the third and last day of mourning.  The casket will be placed on a cart and pulled to the temple for cremation.  It is customary for a family member to help with the casket.  Noni's husband Bob will become a monk for a day and participate in the final ceremonies.  Tonight he went to the barber shop and they shaved his head, his mustache and goatee, and his eyebrows.  He was a little surprise about the eyebrows.  We talked about the positive aspect of the 3 to 5 day mourning and how it brought family and friends together.  

I don't think tomorrow will be a 'day off'.  Many little things to do for the Bangkok exhibit and life in general.  Sunday we'll be meeting a professor from Bangkok and his wife.  They are American and they're interested in the arts.  Khun Somluk and Tamako introduced Lisa to them over the phone today.  The Adventure continues.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.          Time for the 'Funnies'.

                       Peace,
                                  Danny


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Learned


Hi,

This was a day of surprise visits and beautiful conversations.  

It's nice to see that this 'Zany Day' song was remembered.  I'm sure more of you know this tune.  Here's more:
"Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through.  Everybody says I'm cool (He's cool).  I can't complain but sometimes I still do.  __ __ __ to me so far."  Hint:  About an ordinary Joe with a run of good fortune.

The first surprise of the day was an early phone call from Khun Kek telling us that he had a crew and could and come do the yard.  It was another small crew and it will take two days but it will be done.    

This morning I made a solo run to the veggie market.  Armed with a very specific list I made my way through the aisles and did a little circle thing making sure I hit all the proper vendors.  I like to order the fish first so I can run and do the other shopping and avoid having to watch what happens.  Most of the vendors we frequent were aware of the fact that I was alone and gave me little smiles.  My picking skills are getting better and I know who has the better looking items.  You have to make a quick survey to see who has good stuff in a particular vegetable, then pick and chose carefully.  This is a lot different than going to a super market.  More fun.

The next surprise came mid-nap when the phone rang.  Somluk and his wife Tamako wanted to come by and see Lisa's art work.  We had invited them over earlier, but scheduling was uncertain.  Today worked out perfectly.  Somluk is a 'Prominent Artist' and is chair of the Art Bridge Project.  He had heard about our house from a few other artists and we could tell he really wanted to come over.  When they arrived we all went upstairs to Lisa's studio.  While Lisa explained the cast acrylic process to Somluk, I had some wonderful conversations with his wife about art and how to expose the community to the artists of Chiang Rai.  We then had coffee and some of the yummy cake that they brought.  They told us the story of how the Princess came to visit Somluk's gallery and all of the preparation that took place.  It was a very positive, productive visit and I'm sure we'll be doing it again.  Today's photo is part of the interior of Somluk's gallery.  To see more of his work click the link:  http://www.dddpottery.com


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                  Peace,
                             Danny

"Never see anything that you do
as a failure but see it as an accomplishment.
Then you have never failed; you have always learned."
~Ramtha

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reasons


Hi,

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record when talking about the weather.  Beautiful hot days and cool nights makes it a pretty nice time of year.  Some forecasts are calling for rain but I don't see any real signs of that.  

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Somebody To Love" by Jefferson Airplane.  'Zany Day' is next and today we rock out:
"I have a mansion, forget the price.  Ain't never been there, they tell me it's nice.  I live in hotels, tear out the walls. I have accountants pay for it all.  They say I'm crazy but I have a good time.  I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime.  __ __ __ to me so far."  Hint:  This guitar player has been in a gang and soared with eagles.  What's he trying to tell us?

It was a pretty calm day on the compound.  While I went for my massage, Lisa continued working on a new piece.  This one is acrylic on canvas and it's beautiful.  We're starting to see some results from the distribution of promo materials for the Bangkok exhibit.  The Bangkok post listed the show and called it 'Out of this world', making a play on the use of the Hubble photographs in the prints.  A friend of ours said he saw a new edition of what is called a 'HiSo' (high society) magazine and saw the exhibit listed there.  The exhibit will be up for one month, but the opening night is very important to create the momentum that will bring more visitors.  The last major project to make this whole thing happen will be the packing of the three crates that will carry the artwork to Bangkok.  Bring on the bubble wrap.

I'm slowly getting used to my new glasses.  Because there are no seams or lines defining the three separate strengths, it's a constant test to see if I'm using the correct one at any given moment.  Oh what fun it is to see.  Today I went back to the 'Eye Guy' for a frame adjustment.  With the frames level the lenses seem to be in the right places.  

A few night ago Boot went dancing with a friend of hers.  They went to a club with one of the best names yet.  It's called the 'Sugar Beat Club'.  When we asked her what kind of music they played, at first she said she didn't know.  Then she described it:  "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom" and put her hands to her ears. 

                     The Sugar Beat Club

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                              Danny

"Some people have thousands of reasons why they cannot
do what they want to,
when all they need is one reason why they can."
~Willis Whitney

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Danger


Hi,

Tuesday in Chiang Rai was a bright, sunny day.  We did morning errands, lunched with a friend, and mall'd in the afternoon.  

I'm finding it amazing that some of you weren't born when this song came out, yet you knew it.  Here's a little more:
"Your eyes, I say your eyes may look like his.  Yeah, but in your head, baby, I'm afraid you don't know where it is.  Don't you want __ __ __ __?  Don't you need __ __ __ __?  Wouldn't you love __ __ __ __?  You better find __ __ __ __."  Hint:  This 'Easy Monday' song is just that.  One hint: the group was named after something that flies and is not a spacecraft.  Ha, I tried to be slick with that one.

A few things happened yesterday that are worth mentioning.  Tatt returned from Rayong and I met him at the bus station south of town at 7:20 in the morning.  When we arrived at the house the dogs went crazy.  They hadn't seen him in a week and they tried to make up for lost time and affection.  Later in the day the children came over to swim again.  While they were in the pool tossing a ball back and forth, Daku noticed and began running back and forth on the deck.  It was like he was in their game.  He's never been in the pool and even though he looked like he wanted to go in, he wouldn't.  Near the end of the game the ball landed on the deck and Daku captured it and wouldn't give it up. 

Here in Chiang Rai we get our power bill near the end of each month.  It may be a week before the due date, or it could be the day before it's due.  That was the case this month.  We got the bill yesterday.  Not a problem, but I can see how it could be rough on a budget if you didn't know how much and when it was due.  We pay ours at any 7-11 we happen to be near.  This is the accepted practice since there is nothing but a printout from a meter reader device.  There is no enclosed envelope, no formal bill, just a little slip of paper.  

Our good friend Atom came over for lunch today.  After lunch she and Lisa went over all of the translations for the exhibit in Bangkok.  All of the art work names had to have Thai counterparts plus the acknowledgements and an explanation of the cast acrylic print process.  

My new glasses arrived today so we skipped our afternoon nap and went to Central Plaza.  Driving into the parking garage we were confronted by a sea of cars.  It looked like a Sunday afternoon.  When we got inside we discovered that there was a major recital being given by the biggest dance studio in town.  It was one of those affairs that starts with the tiny little kids and goes through all the ages and dance styles.  I got my glasses and a brief lesson on how to adjust to them.  We got coffee at a favorite spot that overlooks the main mall area and watched part of the recital.  Hmm.  Another reason the mall was so crowded today was because it was a public holiday commemorating the death of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1910.  He was the King who ended slavery, started to educate the masses and brought Thailand into the international world of trade and culture.

There is a VIP section in the parking lot, right across from the main entrance.  Today we couldn't miss this cute, but wrongly colored Lamborghini Gallardo just waiting for me to take it's picture.

                                           Zoom

Coming home from the mall it was clear that this was a good day to go swimming.  We hit the pool and got about half of our usual exercise when the undeniable smell of smoke from a neighboring fire forced us indoors.  Not cool.  I must say though, we are getting used to swimming in sub 80 degree water.  Make that 79 degrees and anything under that requires a wetsuit. 

Have a Happy Tuesday,

                   Peace,
                              Danny 

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance
and conscientious stupidity."
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Roller Coaster



Hi,

It would appear that we are out of the deep rainy season.  We had a dry weekend with hot days and cool nights.  Looks like we're on our way to 'winter'.   There was a festival in Thailand, music in the air, and semi-final preparations made for the Bangkok art exhibit.

That 'Old School Friday' song that escaped some of you was "The Thrill Is Gone" by B.B. King.  Oh, and you knew that one.  Never fear, 'Easy Monday' is here.  "When the truth is found to be lies.  And all the joy within you dies.  Don't you want __ __ __ __?  Don't you need __ __ __ __?  Wouldn't you love __ __ __ __, you better find __ __ __ __."
Clues:  Fasten your seat-belts and prepare for takeoff.  This is easy. 

Saturday was a Makro day.  We went early again and it's working for us.  Periodically I stroll down the open freezer case and check out the 'specialty' items.  As you may have figured out by now, delicacies differ from culture to culture.  Here's an example of something that I'd never seen in the grocery store when living in Culver City, CA. 

                          Fresh from the farm

The most exotic thing we bought at Makro on Saturday was some salmon steak.  Our friend Chalit came over for dinner and Boot cooked it in such a way that it was the best tasting salmon I have ever had.  We had another of our stimulating dinners where the conversation goes from political to financial to spiritual.  

Sunday morning starting at about 6:45am, we had a concert from the temple a few blocks away.  Through their P.A. system we heard the Thai version of Gamelon music and some traditional gong and flute work for about 45 minutes.  In between numbers the monk would read a list (in Thai) of donors to the temple.  Not only did he read their names, but how much was donated.  All of this was a part of the nine day 'Vegetarian Festival' that is held each year.  The roots of the celebration are Chinese and the basic concept is about cleansing the body and mind.  All around town we saw little yellow flags on the front of restaurants, and food carts letting everyone know that they were serving vegetarian dishes.  It's a very big deal and some establishments change their entire menu for the festival.  

We tried something different with the dogs on Sunday.  Instead of exercising them two hours after their breakfast, we took them out as soon as we got up.  It was cool and they were hungry.  They ran like the wind.  Daku had a great time chasing the ball and even ran hard to return it.  When we can, that will be our new approach.  Some mornings it's too hot to run them if we wait two hours.  

This morning we drove out to the countryside north of town to the 'Frame Factory'.  We took Lisa's latest cast acrylic print to be framed in time for the exhibit.  We also shipped the catalogues to the gallery.  This afternoon we looked at the menu choices from the catering company.  So many little parts to create the magic.  The last big job will be wrapping all the work in bubble-wrap and loading the three crates for shipping to Bangkok.  The opening is less than 2 weeks away.  

Have a Great Week.

                  Peace,
                             Danny

"Life is like a roller coaster.  
It has it's ups and downs, 
but it your choice to scream
or enjoy the ride."
~Unknown

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Funnies


Hi,

We ended this week on a busy note.  Our morning had contrasting projects going on at the same time, and there were elephant tales in the afternoon.

That 'Zany Day' song was "Little Red Riding Hood" as sung by Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs.  Now that we've settled that, it's time for 'Old School Friday'.  "__ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ away.  (repeat)  You know you done me wrong baby, and you'll be sorry someday."  Hint: So easy I shouldn't say anything, but it's obviously a blues and was a hit by a blues legend with 2 initials in his name.  Something has left the building and it wasn't Elvis.  (555)

With the help of Kwang we got the phone number of a government office that has pumping trucks to deal with the problem we were having with the sewage tank.  It was a noisy but efficient process that cleared up the overflow and the odor.  They arrived while Khun Tawd, the frame maker, was inspecting and repairing some of the hangers on Lisa's cast acrylic prints.  He and his helper checked everything that will be in the exhibit plus all the work in her collection.  It's very important that nothing falls from the wall.  Duh.  There is also new work to be framed and we'll pick that up next week.  The latest one will be in the Bangkok exhibit.

This afternoon while I was at New Life Foundation I heard that some elephants paid them a visit.  Apparently there was an 'Elephant Show' in the village and a mother and her calf strolled over to the small lake at the Foundation for a little water.  As Khun Tom put it, 'I'm not in Belgium anymore'.  He was a little saddened by the fact that the Mahout (elephant handler) was going from village to village with his small group of elephants and playing music for money.  They should not be subjected to that kind of life.  There are many camps where they can be safe and the mahouts can earn a living.   Here's a photo of me a couple of years ago when we went through mahout training at Anantara Elephant Rescue Camp.

                       A Day to Remember

I just read a news report that Thailand is in talks with Formula One to be on the calendar in 2014.  The race would be held in November.  Oh my, I hope they can pull it off.  That would be outstanding for this F1 fan.  In the meantime, there are four races left in this season.  Zoom.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.      Now for an elephant themed 'Funny'.

               Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, October 18, 2012

World


Hi,

The dark clouds gave the impression that it might rain.  Ha, only at night.  It was another hot, sunny day.  There was a pool party that we weren't invited to, and we spent the evening at the mall.

This week's 'Zany Day' song brought back memories for many.  Hints about the theme would be pointless.  It's easy:
"I'm gonna keep my sheep suit on, until I'm sure that you've been shown that I can be trusted walking with you alone.  
Owoooooo!  I mean Baaaaaa!  Baaa?  Clue: This group also sang about a wooly creature in another song.  Hmm.

Aside from some drain drama it was a pretty mellow day.  There is a system used here and in other parts of the world where the water from the sinks goes into a tank in the ground and slowly seeps into the earth after being neutralized by something else, blah blah blah.  One of ours is clogged or full and it's not right.  Without yellow pages it's difficult to get a handle on just who to call.  By the end of the day we thought we might have a solution.  Tomorrow tells the tale.  

We are in the final stages of preparation for Lisa's Bangkok art debut.  The frame guy was supposed to come today to check all the hanging wires.  He didn't make it so we had an early, cold swim.  Not long after we had finished our swim I looked out and saw a bunch of women and children in the pool.  Somehow Boot forgot to tell us that her friends were coming over.  It really doesn't matter, except that it's nice to know when someone else is using your stuff.  I understand the reasoning though.  We used it and we were done.  Hmm, time to have another talk.

With the drainage thing going on we did the only logical thing; we went out to dinner.  During our meal at Black Canyon, we had to endure cover recordings of hits from the 70s.  Great songs, just slightly below average covers that sounded like lounge acts.  After dinner we went to Tokyo Optics for me to get fitted for glasses.  I've been getting by with one contact and compromising on the close vision for awhile.  Next week I will take delivery of a pair of Nikon frames holding progressive lenses that have a wider field of vision.  It felt like buying a car, so many choices and decisions to make.  The eye guy has a the latest testing gear and it was very impressive.  I guess the new 'peepers' will call for a photo.  

Here's a photo of the Thai Gardenia I told you about.  Until they perfect 'Smellogram' photography, this will have to do.

                       Can you smell them?

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                        Peace,
                                   Danny

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
~Anais Nin

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Castles


Hi,

We had another post-card day here in Chiang Rai.  This evening we're having lots of thunder and rain.  A trip to the main market was the adventure of the day.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police.  The 'Zany Day' song is next.  
"Owoooooo!  (Spoken)  Who's that I see walkin' in the woods?  Why, it's __ __ __ __.  (Sung)  Hey there __ __ __ __, you sure are looking good.  You're everything a big bad wolf could want.  Listen to me.  __ __ __ __, I don't think little big girls should go walking in these spooky old woods alone.  Owoooooo!  Hint:  So easy it should have been on Monday.   This is your classic children's story with a twist or two.

This morning after the dogs had been exercised I remembered that I was going to show you our little chili pepper plant.  Here is a photo showing one of the mature red ones that is about one inch long.  The plant is full of tiny green ones that will turn red when they're 'hot'.  How hot are they?  I can't say because I don't eat them.  I know that Boot and her friend Kwang have been out in the yard raiding the bush so they must be good.

                              Red HOT

After my massage we went to the big downtown market.  The usual cast of characters were there: The blind singer, the worm lady, and what seemed like a fresh load of extra pungent seafood.  We found what we needed at the fabric shop.  The Treat Lady is located right in front of the fabric shop so there was another brief stop.  

At the intersection of our little street and the main road there has been some kind of experiment in pavement degradation.  That must have been the reason they left it untouched for so long.  Today it was repaired, at least for the time being.  I can now turn the corner without the car bucking and diving in and out of a series of double-sized pot holes.   While I'm still on the neighborhood news, the long paved strip on the big dirt lot behind us has become a morning and evening exercise path for the locals.  Until construction begins on the little lots, it is a nice gift for those who want a morning walk safe from traffic.

This afternoon we went for a cool swim before the rains began.  There is something about looking at the yard from the water level that makes it all different.  Things are blooming all over and at one point the breeze shifted and the scent of Gardenia drifted over us.  It's a bush whose flowers look sort of like African Daisies but they are a strain of Thai Gardenia.  Pictures of the good smelling garden coming soon.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                              Danny

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;
this is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."
~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Imagine


Hi,

There were forecasts for thunderstorms.  We waited but only got cloudy sunshine.  Today we visited downtown and 
got a visit from our little swim friends.  

There were a few who knew the 'Easy Monday' song.  A seven word title from the early 80s by a progressive trio.
"Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met?  It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me that ends up getting wet.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, everything she do just turns me on.  Even though my life before was tragic, now I know my love for her goes on...."  Clue: No more hints.  If you don't get this you will be arrested.  (Hmm, who does that?)

Last night I set up the new router and things have been fast and steady for almost 24 hours.  We're getting the proper speed and that means that things like Skype and Youtube work correctly.  It also means that on those rare occasions when someone sends me email, it gets here.  

This morning we went into town to send posters and invitations for Lisa's Bangkok exhibit to the gallery.  We used the small coffee shop post office counter in the Edison department store.  Walking through the store we couldn't help but check out the many counter clerks putting on makeup while at their posts.  The young women who work in cosmetics have the best deal going.  They can play with the samples all day, and they do.

As we passed by the watch shop we stopped to say 'Hello' to 'Watch Guy'.  We hadn't seen him in a long time and he looked up and gave us a big grin and a very happy greeting.  He was busy so we didn't get a chance to ask him about recent tennis matches.  He's a big fan and we always compare notes on who is good.

Since the forecast called for rain we changed our plan to get the car washed.  On the way home we spotted a broom and brush man with an variation on the usual push-cart.  He had the back half of a bicycle connected to a trailer cart attached in the front.  He steered by turning the cart.  I pulled over to catch this photo of him walking his rig across the street.

                      Broom and Brush Man

Just as we were preparing for dinner the kids who come to swim showed up.  The two girls rode their bikes over to visit with Boot.  Each one had a small child on the back so we had four kids enjoying the front lawn.  They probably would have stayed longer but I mentioned to Boot that they should head home before it got dark.  Once again, safety seemed to be the farthest thing on their agenda.  Hmm.

 Have a Happy Tuesday.

                     Peace,
                                Danny

"Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely
believe, and enthusiastically act upon ...
must inevitably come to pass!"
~Paul J. Meyer

Monday, October 15, 2012

Laughter


Hi,

It was a fairly mellow weekend here in Chiang Rai.  We managed to do a few things like have coffee with a friend, go out on the town, do battle with the internet, talk to America, and visit the 'New Bus Station'.  

Congrats to all who knew that the 'Old School Friday' song was "Oh! Darlin'" by The Beatles.  For 'Easy Monday' we're going to sing a song that's also from across the pond, but a lot later in time.  "Though I've tried before to tell her of the feelings I have for her in my heart.  Every time that I come near her I just lose my nerve as I've done from the start.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, everything she do just turns me on...."  Hint:  You know this song.  There is a little slight of hand (Ha) going on.  

Saturday we met our friend Atom at Vivien's for coffee.  It's a small coffee shop connected to a restaurant.  It's usually quiet since it's off the main street.  One of our conversations was about how people in Thailand view certain holiday practices like Halloween.  Atom spent many years in America and saw things she'd never encountered here.  Interesting stuff to talk about.  On the counter there was a little display of a soft drink they're starting to sell.  Looking at the label, the closest thing to a name is 'Soft Drink'.  There was only one flavor and that was peach.  We saw this kind of 'can' years ago in New Zealand.  The top is an aluminum pull type but the body is clear plastic.  I don't know if these have reach the U.S. yet.  Of course, I have a photo for you.

                               Is it still a Can?

In the evening we went to Le Meridien for the 'Wine/Sprite tasting' party.  There was a large turnout and we saw many friends we hadn't seen for awhile.  We met some new people that are local expats as well as visitors to the area.  The special meal that the staff prepared for me was wonderful.  I shared some with Lisa since many of the little dishes that accompanied the wine samples were full of meat and/or cheese.  We enjoyed sliced grilled chicken, sautéed broccoli, and french fries.  

Sunday morning we went to the vegetable market and then spent the rest of the day at home.  Lisa worked on a new cast acrylic print, we watched Formula One from Korea, and the original James Bond movie.  

Today we did an early Makro run and got our big shopping done.  We thought our internet problems were over since it was going so fast.  Fast is good until it crashes and burns.  It will go fast and then just stop, then creep.  After many combinations of connections we decided to follow the suggestion of our provider and get a router they recommended. This way if it still doesn't work then they have to admit that they are the problem.  Meanwhile, I have a new set of instructions to follow to connect this device.  Oh joy.

We took Tatt to the bus station down the highway this afternoon.  He's going to his home in Rayong for a week.  It's a 12 hour bus ride to Bangkok and then another hour to Rayong.  Next Saturday and Sunday he will be testing for another university admission.  He has applied to five and I'm sure a few of them will want him.  He will return next Monday morning and then it's back to school.  

Have a Great Week.

                  Peace,
                             Danny

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
~Victor Borge

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Funnies


Hi,

This morning we had just enough rain to make the air nice and clean.  There was a 'people visit' to the vet, some morning errands, a stop at Bliss Studios, and the cement 'runway' behind our house now has a surprising purpose.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Get Back" by The Beatles.  I guess you've figured out the theme for this week.  That should make it a little easier to get the 'Old School Friday' song.  Yes, the Fab Four did an old school blues.  
"__! __, please believe me, I'll never do you no harm.  Believe me when I tell you I'll never do you no harm.  __! __, if you leave me, I'll never make it alone.  Believe me when I thank you, don't ever leave me alone."  Hint: The title is two words and the first one is two letters (Hmm).  The second is a term of endearment.    

Since it hasn't been raining a lot, the locals have decided to burn all the trash and yard waste they can find.  It has made the area rather smokey and the morning rain was just what we needed.  The fresh morning air was just the thing to get the dogs romping around the yard.  By late afternoon they were back at it again so we closed up the house and ran the air/con.  

We got out in the street early today and went to our vet's to get some dog food.  I stayed in the car because the 'cat vibes' are heavy in the waiting room.  I missed out on the fun this morning because our friend Jonathan was there for his 3 month check-up.  He will be 10 years old next month.  One of the staff members was rolling around on the floor with him and he had the attention of everyone in the office.  

At the vegetable market there is a large fruit stand that is run by a very sweet couple.  They know what we like and we have a nice rapport with them.  Today we bought 2 watermelons and the husband washed them both in a pan of water since they were fresh from the field and still very dirty.  That was a nice touch.  One of the things we like about them is that they will tell us if something is not fresh or not sweet.  

It is not uncommon to see a motorbike inside one of the markets making a delivery.  The other day I looked up and there was a Tuk-Tuk in the aisle.  I didn't hear him come in, and I missed how he got out.  One of those things that makes you go 'Hmm'.

                       Can you find the Tuk-Tuk?

The last stop on our morning adventure was at Bliss Studios.  There is always a cheery welcome from Chalit, his brother and his mom.  In addition to picking up some organic coffee that he got for us, we needed him to make a 'Thai phone call'.  It's nice to have friends who can help us with communication on technical matters.  

This afternoon I made my trip out to New Life Foundation.  There was a wall of smoke in the distance as I traveled across the valley where rice is grown.  The practice of burning the leftovers from the rice harvest is still puzzling and troubling.  Old ways are hard for many to give up.  At the center I said goodbye to two new friends.  One is returning to Belgium and the other to Australia.  Meeting young people from around the world helps keep things in perspective.  Especially when they go home with smiling faces and positive attitudes.  

Tomorrow evening we will attend another wine/Sprite tasting at Le Meridien Resort.  This time they're creating a special little meal that I can eat.  I'm looking forward to that since I never get to eat the dishes they prepare for the wine samples.  We will probably meet some more interesting people as well.  The Adventure continues.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       Time to Laugh.

                     Peace,
                                Danny


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Notice


Hi,

We had another sunny day in Chiang Rai.  It was a busy day with inoculations, supply shopping, and more swimming.

This weeks 'Zany Day' song is brought to you by four lads from across the pond.  Be the first to score with the title.
"Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman, but she was another man.  All the girls around her say she's got it coming, but she gets it while she can.  __ __, __ __, __ __ to where you once belonged..."  Hint:  What would you tell someone who gets too close?

Eight in the morning is when things start to happen at Overbrook Hospital.  We arrived a little before and got to watch things come together.  Our goal was to meet with our nurse friend Pay and get flu shots.  At 8am a bell sounded that made us think we were in a train station.  Nurses came out of closed doors and there was more motion in the big waiting room than before.  After our vitals were taken we had to wait for a doctor to approve the prescription.  Eventually Pay gave us our shots.  Based on the number of people who arrive at the hospital sick each day, an ounce of prevention blah, blah, blah.   Today's photo shows how supportive family members can be when someone has to go to the hospital.  They come as a group and stay, with mats, food, and compassion.  There were at least 14 people in the truck and this was one of two trucks in the same party.


From Overbrook we went to Makro for the usual essentials.  One of the new items are peanut-butter crunchy things that I like a lot.  We asked a woman where they were and she went all over the store trying to find them.  We finally found their hiding place so now I can find them on my own.  Makro is also a great place for me to hear cool music.  They play assorted popular music near the entrance.  When I hear something I like, I record a bit on my phone and then play it back for the staff at Boomerang Music at Central Plaza.  It's become a little game of 'Name that tune'.  If they have the artist/song I usually buy it.  

Since our day began so early we still had time for more errands so we went to Big C for the things we can only get there.  There have been forecasts stating that it's possible for us to have a very cold winter.  We have a heater for our upstairs, but thought we should have a second one.  I mean, there were references made to the 50s when it snowed in Chiang Rai.  No one really knows how cold it could get but it's better to be ready.  The real dilemma is what to do when riding in the car and the temps are super cold.  Most cars assembled here have no heaters.  What?  Since there is little need, why put one in?  We'll have to put blankets in the back seat just in case (555).  If it starts to get cold you will hear about it.

This afternoon we swam without the wetsuits.  The water wasn't much warmer but after the initial shock, it was more refreshing than being confined inside a second skin.  There is also the fact that you work a little harder when not being held afloat.  It's fun, but defeats the purpose of a workout.  (well, it's still fun)  When we finished swimming the pool was taken over by the second shift.  The two girls from yesterday were joined by a cute little boy who mostly splashed around in the sitting pond.  It's nice to hear the sound of children having fun.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                   Peace,
                              Danny

"Express love through acknowledgment.
Notice the good in those around you and freely comment on it."
~Mary Manin Morrissey

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Change


Hi,

We have concluded that today was a good day.  Actually, they are all good days.  We stayed on the compound for most of the day.  The pool got double use, and we dined with friends at Central Plaza.

A few more readers chimed in on the 'Easy Monday' song and told me it was "Love Me Do" by The Beatles.  That means that even more of you will know the artist group and probably the title of the 'Zany Day' song.
"Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner, but he knew it wouldn't last.  Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona for some California grass.  __ __, __ __, __ __ to where you once belonged...."  Hint:  There is a theme working here.  Get back to me as soon as you can.  Title is in two words.

This morning I had my weekly massage.  Khun Joy has a way of expanding on whatever discomfort was there, only to make it better in the end.  All that to say that she helped me once again.  She's a very smart woman and the plan that she had for her business is working.  She is booked up all the time and now has another operator working with her.  

I left Joy's and went to the fruit lady's stand at the veggie market in search of apples for our drink.  Nobody had apples.  I know there are apples in Thailand because we buy them at Makro, but in town they seem to be non-existent. 
Apples are what make the 5 juice drink palatable.  Today we drank it without the fresh apple juice and it was gross.  
Tomorrow morning we go to Makro for apples and other essentials.  (Ha)  The last time we were there I took a picture of what I like to call the 'Curry Bar'.  Each of the bowls contains a different variation of curry.  Enjoy.


This afternoon we decided to go swimming.  Because of the recent rain and the cooler temps we put on our wetsuits.  Just as we were about to go in, Kwang arrived with her daughter and a friend.  The kids wanted to go swimming after we were done.   Kwang has been working in the yard in the afternoons with a focus on taking all the tiny green apple-like fruit off of five large bushes.  Daku loves to eat them but we're pretty sure it's not a healthy attraction.  

This evening we met our good friends Sutheera and Nukoon at Central Plaza for dinner.  We haven't seen them in quite awhile so it was nice to get together.  Nukoon and I talked a lot about the growth of Chiang Rai and how it is becoming a real hub city in Northern Thailand.  He told me that it is possible to drive to China from Thailand.  There was a photo in the Chiang Rai Times showing a car in town with Chinese license plates.  Sutheera is getting closer to completing work on her doctoral thesis in business marketing, and that's always interesting to hear about.  After dinner we did some light shopping and called it an evening.  We were surprised to see so many people in the mall on a Wednesday night.  This place has really changed since our arrival over five years ago.  Amazing Thailand.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                               Danny

"Most people are in favor of progress;
it's the change they don't like."
~Anonymous

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kindness


Hi,

Today was a fairly laid-back Tuesday.  It was a cooler day and that helped.  

I got no emails about the 'Easy Monday' song.  Perhaps you've already forgotten about the Fab Four's 50th.  Hmm.
"Someone to love, somebody new.  Someone to love, someone like you.  __, __ __ __, you know I love you, I'll always be true.  So please, __ __ __...."  Hint:  The title is three words, and all the verses are the same.  Oh, there's a harmonica in it too.

This morning when we took the dogs out, the air was cool and it meant more fun for them.  Actually, Daku is the one who benefits from the cool mornings.  His coat is thick and when it's hot he tends to get tired faster.  When it's cool he's full of energy and can run more.  He seems to be aware of more scents in the air lately.  He'll be running or even walking around and his nose will go up and he's off in another direction.  Dogs do what dogs do.

After I picked Lisa up from her massage we went to Doi Chaang for a bag of coffee.  Then we went next door for some bread and a visit with Jonathan, our English Golden Retriever friend.  He was in a very 'social' mood today and got lots of petting.  

Our internet gremlin is back.  That meant going through the motions of calling the 'Call Center' in Bangkok, explaining once again and it's 'on, off, on, off' and answering a few questions.  Then we had to wait for a call from the local technical service office.  This time the young woman reset our line and told me she would call back in a couple of hours.  She actually called back and then sent two guys to the house.  After they messed with my computer, and theirs, watched some Youtube and made some calls I got a call from the office.  Your router is outdated.  This is the one that they gave us.  After they left I reconnected my Belkin router and it's all been good since then.  Amazing Thailand.

This evening our friend Chalit came over for dinner.  We had a really nice time talking about his photography, Thai politics, and the reality of celebrity monks.  He told us that the flower show in January is supposed to have penguins, a bear and flamingos.    

Today's photo is another Samlor driver on the way to the recycling center with a load that is truly noteworthy.

                           A motor would be nice

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                      Peace,
                                 Danny

"You cannot do a kindness too soon
because you never know how soon it will be too late."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, October 8, 2012

Important


Hi,

We have had an art-filled weekend.  We also had a doggie play-date and coffee with a friend. 

Well, there must have been something very important going on this weekend because Lisa was the only person to identify the 'Old School Friday' song.  It was "Goodnight My Love" by Jesse Belvin.  You should know this classic R&B ballad.  On to easier things like 'Easy Monday'.  This should be easy since it has been 50 years since this song became a hit and changed popular music as we used to know it.  (555)  "__ __ __ __, you know I love you.  I'll always be true, so please, __ __ __.  Whoa, __ __ __."  Clue:  It's not a heavy song, but a fun one.  The group changed music across the pond and around the world.  The song has been getting lots of attention so you should get this.

Saturday morning we drove north on the Super Highway to Doy Din Dang the home/gallery/studio of Khun Somluk.  He is a ceramic artist who is one of the leaders in the art community here.  Entering his compound is like going to another world.  The first thing that strikes you is the tall trees.  It feels like a mountain encampment.  There are many buildings and everywhere you look there are pots, vases, bowls and plates blending into the natural surroundings.  Somluk spent many years in Japan studying various aspects of ceramic art and how to make non-toxic glazes.  On our way to the coffee shop for our meeting, we passed through a workshop where young people were making small cups on pottery wheels.  There was a gallery containing beautiful bowls and vases, and a gift shop.  I commented on the roof of the gift shop and Somluk mentioned that the tiles were cement and would change with time.  He compared them to people: "As they get older they change color, become more humble, and then pass away."  We spent about an hour talking with him and two of his guests from Chiang Mai.  It was a very inspiring visit and we will be returning to spend more time 'looking'.

Saturday evening we went to a birthday party/gallery opening with our friends Chalit and Amber.  It was the 60th birthday of another prominent artist, Ajarn (teacher) Chalong.  What we didn't realize was that it was going to be such a major event.  His whole neighborhood, the whole artist community, and people from his temple were all there to celebrate.   After he spoke, a famous monk spoke, and then we crowded into the two-story gallery that sits in front of his house.   This is a very common practice here.   Artists will build a gallery next to their home.  We have been to several galleries like this.  Chalong's work is unique in that his images are brought to life using tiny dots.  From a distance you might see a buffalo and a rice field.  A little closer it looks like air-brush art.  When you get up close you realize there are thousands of tiny dots, and flecks of paint that build in density to get the shape he is looking for.  We had a chance to examine and discuss the process with other artists and that was cool.

Sunday morning Gary, Jago, and two kids came over to play.  When the gate opened and Daku saw who it was he barked.  Yes, he's using his voice a bit more these days, even though BamBam doesn't like it.  When Jago got off the motorbike he and Daku charged out onto the front lawn.  The kids were laughing and BamBam was barking because she wanted to be out there.  We keep her inside for a bit and then let her out.  She did her usual 'Alpha' thing when she was let out, chasing Jago around the yard.  Bam was running really fast and Jago was just loping along staying in front of her.  Salukis are the fastest dogs in the world and Jago is very impressive.  He and BamBam got a little friendlier this time, she is letting him get closer.  He's still a puppy and wants to play with her but she ignores his overtures.  The kids threw the ball and the dogs would bring it back to them.  That was cute to watch.  As their energy subsided Jago wandered off to the back and was just taking in the yard.  It was a fun visit and they'll be back again soon.

                            The Play-Date Crew

Have a Great Week.

                     Peace,
                                Danny

"It is more important to grow your income 
than cut your expenses.  
It is more important to grow your spirit 
than cut your dreams."
~Robert Kiyosaki

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Today was a day for rolling postage, veggie market wonders, an art exhibit, and a new mattress.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Express Yourself" by The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band.  You really should check it out on Youtube.  It's time for 'Old School Friday' and despite what some may say, there were really good songs before you were born (555).  Here's an example of a great recording:  "__ __ __, pleasant dreams and sleep tight my love.  May tomorrow be sunny and bright and bring you closer to me..."  Hint:  Something one should say to a loved one. 

On our way into town this morning, we stopped at the big government building around the corner from us.  Lisa has a cast acrylic print hanging in one of the upper stair-wells and we wanted to check out the location.  This piece was first hung with the 100 Thai Artists project and was recently moved.  It also gave us a chance to see some of the other works again.  Every day the post office brings a van to the building so various offices can do all their mail business without leaving the property.  We took advantage of it's presence and mailed our ballots back to the U.S.

                       Cool Mobile Post Office

Our next stop was the vegetable/fruit market.  As we walked in we passed a stall with tiny little fish that had been dried and put on little sticks.  Fish Kabab?  On the same aisle I got a fresh dose of chili up the nose as we passed the 'Curry Queen' and all her bowls of paste.  While we're on the subject of chili, we have a chili plant in our yard.  We didn't know it, and didn't plant it.  Boot and Kwang discovered it one day recently while cleaning up the yard.  The simple explanation is birds.  Anyway, we have this plant that has tiny little chili buds on it.  I'll post a picture next week.

When we left the house it was with the understanding that the wayward mattress would be delivered at 3pm.  That was after an earlier call to tell us that the truck had been stopped by the police because it was on a street that didn't allow big trucks.  As we were leaving the market Boot called to say that the men had delivered the mattress.  So in spite of all the awkward communications, we have the new bed.  Yea.  On the way home we saw Gary and Jago on the motorbike, with two children on the back.  They had been playing down by the river.

This evening we went to 9 Art Gallery for the opening of a new exhibit.  It was the first one in a long time and we got to see the old crowd.  The artist paints flowers in very interesting ways.  One wall consisted of 36 6" x 6" canvases of roses.  Each panel was a close up of a rose of a different shade and style.  Some of her other work used assorted flowers of every description.  

Tomorrow evening we're going to the 60th birthday celebration for a local artist.  His work is an exercise in patience and persistence.  His images are constructed of tiny little dots of ink or paint.  By varying the size and proximity of the dots he can create shapes and shading.  The party should be interesting since he's part of the Chiang Rai 'Old Guard'.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.         On with the 'Funnies'.

                 Peace,
                            Danny